FORT MYERS, Fla. -- A day after Alfredo Aceves seemed to be testing the Red Sox patience with his decision to throw live batting practice at half-speed, his agent visited Red Sox camp and had a conversation with general manager Ben Cherington.
Tom O'Connell, who represents Aceves, chatted with Cherington. Cherington told the agent that the Sox value Aceves and want him to be a part of their staff, but also made clear that incidents like the one that took place Sunday won't be tolerated.
Aceves has a history of issues with the Sox, dating back to last season when he once refused to hand the ball to Bobby Valentine on the mound. Later in the season, upset at not being called on in a save situation, Aceves had an angry confrontation with Valentine in his office that resulted in the pitcher slamming the door and later receiving a three-game suspension.
A source indicated Sunday that the Sox believed that Aceves was "absolutely" testing new manager John Farrell. Aceves is believed to prefer to start; the Red Sox will stretch him out in the spring in case some depth starters are needed, but plan to use Aceves primarily out of the bullpen.
The Red Sox signed Cuban outfielder Rusney Castillo to a seven-year, $72.5 million contract bn August 2014. Over parts of three seasons, the 29-year-old has a .679 OPS across 337 plate appearances in the majors and spent the vast majority of the 2016 season at Triple-A Pawtucket.
Castillo had a chance to start things off on the right foot in 2017, but that ship has already sailed. On Thursday against Northeastern at JetBlue Park, Castillo didn’t run out a routine ground ball. He claims he lost track of the outs. Manager John Farrell isn’t happy about the situation. Via Evan Drellich of the Boston Herald:
“Disappointing for a couple of reasons,” Sox manager John Farrell said. “One, he has lost the number of outs. Still, regardless of another of outs, getting down the line is controllable. And for a player in his situation, every little aspect of the game is important. That’s something that was addressed in the moment. He needs to execute the game situation. And for that matter, every player. But that one obviously stood out.”
Everyone always makes far too big a deal about running out grounders. It’s a real nit to pick when it’s February 23 and your team just finished playing an exhibition game that is even more meaningless than the other exhibition games that will be played in the coming month.
That being said, Castillo has to prove himself to merit inclusion on the 25-man roster and that means dotting all his i’s and crossing all his t’s. Even if he went hitless all spring, Castillo could have at least said he couldn’t have done anything else better. But on day one, he already gave his team a reason to count him out.